Ask the ALA Library

Using Other Sources

Q. Today's been tough.  Kids are coming in with left-to-the-last-minute homework assignments for which they normally turn to Wikipedia.  We're getting them to print resources and our online databases, but do you have suggestions for teaching research skills? 

Recommended Listening and Audiobooks

Q. I got to explain to an older patron today that audiobooks can be downloaded! She last listened to an audiobook when they were still on cassette tapes.  Now that she knows, she would love to give her 13-year-old granddaughter something else to listen to on her tiny music player. I told her about the Odyssey Award. Does ALA have any lists of audiobooks for children?

Happy 135th, ALA!

Q. What were the forces behind the founding conference of the American Library Association?

Reading Levels

Q. Is there a reliable source for the suggested reading level of a novel?  I'm a teacher who requires independent reading, but the novels my students bring me sometimes look "too young" for the grade I teach.  I cannot always find information on what reading level the novel was intended to entertain.

Librarians in Government

The question came in with the subject line "Reference question that only ALA can answer" but it really is a question that only all of ALA, not just the ALA Librarian, can answer: Are there librarians who have been elected officials, or who have run for office?

Newbery and Caldecott Medal Acceptance Speeches

Q. I wasn't able to be at the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.  Will the speeches be published somewhere?

A. Yes, the Newbery Medal and Caldecott Medal acceptance speeches are published annually in two periodicals; in the Summer/Fall issue of ALA's Children and Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children and the June/July issue of (non-ALA) Horn Book Magazine

How to Label a Book

Q.  Does ALA have any guidelines or sample policies for labeling books for the shelves?

A. Although the American Library Association has established standards and guidelines for a range of library activities, none of these cover shelf preparation or physical processing of library materials.

Children’s Libraries

Updated July 31, 2012

Q. Are there stand-alone libraries serving children (other than those in schools, that is)?

A. A year ago we reported ten such libraries, but received additional information from our readers.  Here is our current list, with links checked and updated, as well. We now can report sixteen libraries,  ten affiliated with public libraries, one under construction, and five in other settings.

Public libraries with stand-alone libraries serving children:

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